José González has announced, his new full-length LOCAL VALLEY will drop on September 17, 2021 via Mute Records. The LP, is González’s first new studio recording in more than five years. Tour dates are currently planned for later this year. Fans around the world can see González perform later this month, however, as it was recently announced that he will participate in National Geographic’s Earth Day celebration taking place on April 21.
“We are the apes that are starting to understand the universe and our place in it,” says González. “We are changing our surroundings in an exceedingly rapid pace, so much that we’re becoming stewards of our planet whether we like it or not. As Stewart Brand said, ‘We are as gods and we have to get good at it.’ The lyrics came to me in early February 2020 just as there were more and more tweets about the possible pandemic. The topic of the song felt very timely. You can hear the birds and ambient sounds from the veranda, along with a layer of synth loops in the background.”
Recorded at Studio Koltrast Hakefjorden, which González set up in his family’s summer house north of Gothenburg, LOCAL VALLEY “is similar to my other solo albums in sound and spirit,” he says, “a natural continuation of the styles I’ve been adding through the years both solo and with Junip. I set out to write songs in the same vein as my old ones: short, melodic and rhythmical, a mixture of classic folk singer songwriting and songs with influences from Latin America and Africa. It’s more outward looking than my earlier works, but no less personal. On the contrary, I feel more comfortable than ever saying that this album reflects me and my thoughts right now.”
“Many of these songs have a crystal-clear, secular humanist agenda: anti-dogma, pro-reason,” González says. “There’s no political agenda, though, at least not in a classical left-right spectrum. Maybe in a globalist-secular vs. theocratic-nationalist way: the focus is on underlying worldviews, and on our existential questions as smart apes on a quest to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.”
LOCAL VALLEY was first heralded last month by the first track, “El Invento,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services. González’s only publicly released song to feature lyrics in Spanish, for which he credits his young daughter with helping him during the writing process, “El Invento” is joined by an official music video streaming now at YouTube.
“El Invento” – which was first debuted by González during a special live performance as part of the 2020 Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies – was met by immediate critical applause upon its arrival, with Paste writing, “The song asks questions of creation and purpose against a gentle Spanish guitar as the video offers a sweet glimpse into simple, domestic life,” adding, “The music video for ‘El Invento’ features the song’s lyrics in both Spanish and English, making it easy to enjoy the profound lyrical work of González in either language.” “El Invento” “is a quiet and truly pretty piece of music,” wrote Stereogum. “González’s multi-tracked voice sounds as beautiful as ever, and other than a fluttery finger picked guitar and a soft metronomic beat, it’s all we hear on the song.” “When the world feels particularly intense and anxiety-ridden right now,” declared Far Out, “González breaking his six-year silence with ‘El Invento’ is an appreciated gift that we should all indulge ourselves in.”
Line of Fire
En Stund Pa Jorden